A Second Chance: Part Four
The shore of Mystery Island was merely a speck of color in the distance behind the great Salty Gale as the ship sailed for the horizon. Seagulls called above in the piercing blue sky filled with pleasantly fluffed, rolling white clouds, ensuring good weather for the first few days of sailing. However, not all the passengers aboard the Salty Gale were seasoned to the ride...
Malcolm gave a troublesome sigh as he stood at the forecastle deck as he listened to Abigail's dreadful sea sickness from the main deck. The Gelert glanced over at the girl with her head hanging completely over the railing and winced at her retching. Soon he became very uneasy and tense, walking about the deck in short, reckless paces, muttering his thoughts out loud, but they were inaudible next to the ocean's tide.
"Malcolm," came a chilling yet raspy voice. Malcolm turned around to find the first mate with an exasperated look on his scarred face storming up to him. Anger burned in Malcolm's soul to meet eyes with him. The sinister first mate roughly grabbed hold of his arm.
"There ye are!" he said in a furious whisper, revealing an accent. "I thought I told ye to stow 'er down in the brig!"
"I tried that, but she would not stop vomiting, and it only became worse below deck," Malcolm replied.
The sailor glared at him and swiftly grabbed his collar and pushed his face so close to his that Malcolm could smell sickening sweet rum on his breath.
"Ye know the punishment if ye don't fulfill our captain's request," he threatened.
"There's no need to remind me of that, scum. It's haunted me since you sea demons kidnapped me and killed my crew a year ago. I know the deal. You need the heart of a human girl to get the treasure and then you will let me go," Malcolm answered harshly. He roughly pushed the Kougra sailor off of him with a scowl. "And you will get it."
The Gelert pushed past the sailor and walked away from the forecastle and to the deck rail where Abigail's heaving became horribly louder. Malcolm gulped as he quietly stepped closer to her from behind. He was obligated to a commit a very dark deed that was inescapable. Guilt filled his soul as a horrible vision flashed before his eyes. In the image, Malcolm crept up to Abigail's presence without her knowledge and produced a gleaming knife from his coat, gripping it firmly. Tears welled up in his eyes as he unwillingly raised the dagger. Abigail turned around and screamed with terror in Malcolm's hallucination.
He flashed back to the crispness of reality and saw that Abigail's nausea had stopped for a moment long enough for her to gasp for air.
Malcolm gazed at her in concern while Abigail took a few shaky breaths. He shut his eyes, trying to forget the dirty work he was being forced to fulfill. Gazing up from the view of the water below, she was alarmed by Malcolm's dark appearance directly before her as she jumped back slightly.
"Oh! Malcolm, I never suspected you to be there. You startled me," she said weakly.
Her face was drained and green as seaweed. Her eyes were heavy and bloodshot, strained from staring at the ocean splash the sides of the ship.
"The sea sickness should pass soon, Abigail," Malcolm said softly.
Abigail groaned in agony, gripping her hands tightly on the ship's rail, nauseated by the rocking and bobbling of the waves. "I was very nervous before coming aboard and I haven't been on a boat—''
"Ship," Malcolm corrected her quickly.
She rolled her eyes. "Sorry. Ship. The fact is I have not been on one in years. I'm not sure if this was such a good idea... I keep having these bad feelings," she said and deeply swallowed a touch of queasiness.
"It's probably just the nausea. Everything is fine here, Abigail. We're going to find Jane. You can trust me," assured Malcolm, thought he knew he was lying to her as well as himself.
"No," Abigail replied. She turned to him as he was taken aback somewhat. "I don't trust your crew. I feel like they are all watching me."
The Gelert stopped and bit his lip rather nervously as his mind went blank. She did not know yet of the awful truth and muddle he was chained down to... a dark past that had begun to intertwine with Abigail's future. Deep in his heart, Malcolm was developing sincere care for Abigail and her lost Neopet, but he knew it was growing impossible for him to help her like he promised. If he was brave and noble to help her, he would surely be killed; and if Abigail helped him, she too would certainly perish at the hands of pure evil.
"Malcolm?" Abigail spoke gently, stirring the Shadow Gelert from his deep thoughts. He gazed at her, and, for the first time, he was captivated by the beauty of her hazel eyes shimmering in the sunlight. She cocked her head slightly as they stared at each other, sharing an awkward moment of quietness.
"Malcolm," she repeated and slowly reached up to finger the Gelert's hood, drawn by irresistible temptation and curiosity.
"What are you hiding beneath that cloak?"
With lightning speed, Malcolm grabbed her wrist, frightening her as she let out a small shriek. She breathed in shock as his fingers grasped her hand tightly; his muscles were tense with nervous fear. Afterwards, recovering his calm disposition, Malcolm tenderly let go of Abigail's hand.
"I apologize," said the Gelert with his deep voice. "but I don't wish for you to see my outward appearance."
Abigail looked up at him interestedly but with equal concern. "I am also unable to read you inside, Malcolm. You were somewhat of a stranger to me when you first appeared on my doorstep, but... I do see the care of a friend, detective. I want to thank you for giving me this chance to find Jane. Without you, I would still be afraid to leave the shore."
"Please," Malcolm said in a humble manner. "I am not one who deserves credit or admiration."
"Yes you are!" Abigail exclaimed in insistence. "You are worthy of my gratitude, and I am in your debt."
"No, you owe me nothing, Abigail," replied Malcolm softly. "I still must find Jane for you."
"We will," Abigail answered as a short pause of silence rained down upon them. She saw a little smile break his serious face concealed by the shadows of his hood, looking into his deep brown eyes that gleamed in the light like diamonds.
"Your sea sickness has passed, I see," Malcolm broke the silence.
"Yes, it has," Abigail smiled with a laugh. "And so has part of my fear, because of you."
"Help, please!! Someone! Help me!!" Jane screamed as her cry echoed throughout the small grotto mixed with the growling of the Mutant sea Jetsams.
Just before Jane felt the sensation of sharp teeth sinking into her tail, a high-pitched whistle interrupted the ruckus. The Mutant Jetsams froze in their fighting positions and perked their heads up after hearing their master's whistle. Immediately the sea beasts released Jane as she dropped to the cave floor with a plop. Confused, she rubbed her throbbing head and looked up to find the Jetsams panting in a friendly and excited behavior at a bright blue glow floating above them.
"What in the world...?" she muttered and gaped at the Jetsams in amazement.
The tiny but lovely blue glow flickered with a light giggle and touched each of the Jetsams on their noses as they smiled in delight like young Warfs itching for attention. Then, Jane heard a peculiar noise swimming around her ears that sound like little fins.
"Hello? Can you not see me?" came a soft voice.
Jane looked down, followed by the small voice and gasped to see a miniature water faerie barely bigger than her thumb floating before her in the water. There was a long pause of complete silence while Jane gaped at the water faerie.
"W-Who are you?"
"The question is, young one, who are you? And how in Fyora's name did you find me here?"
"Oh," said the Maraquan Aisha, surprised by the great spirit in such a tiny creature.
"My name is Jane. Lady Nereid sent me here to find a water faerie by the name of Yara. I must find her or else I will never see my owner again."
"Well, Jane, your long journey has finally come to an end."
Relief and excitement fused together appeared on Jane's face as her eyes lit up in joy. "Is it?"
"I am Yara, the one who you are searching for," said the minuscule water faerie.
Then, Jane's obvious emotions of happiness vanished as quickly as it had come, replaced by a dropped jaw of utter shock. The little faerie simply smirked at Jane's flabbergasted face.
"Y-You are... Yara?"
"I-I don't understand," Jane stuttered in disbelief.
"Don't understand what?"
Finally Jane blinked, and suddenly let out a hard, dumbfounded laugh, but Yara could detect a sense of anger in her chuckle, now understanding that she was not amazed, but absolutely taken aback.
Jane sharply turned to Yara, spreading her arms out wide to express her fury. "I came miles and miles clear across the open sea, traveling nonstop for days upon days, starving, exhausted, and near death, and then to top off this misfortune I was nearly eaten alive b-by those things!" Jane pointed at Yara's Jetsams. "All to find just—''
"A miniature, insignificant sprite, right?" Yara interrupted in contempt.
Jane halted after hearing Yara's sharp, bitter words that seethed the water around them. The Aisha's eyes rested guiltily on the ground as she quietly stroked her fins along the sand.
"I'm sorry..." said Jane. "I had no idea that you were a sprite. Nereid never informed me of it!"
"You should be sorry!" Yara spat, startling Jane as she backed up slowly. "Nereid and all of the other faeries have long denied my powers! For a hundred years I have lived out in the open sea, isolated from Faerieland and the rest of Neopia itself, a cruel place for my kind. I tried to share my powers for virtue and righteousness, but the faeries never accepted me, no matter how hard I tried. Eventually, Balthazar hunted me down and captured me, a dreadful fate that is common among us smaller faeries. I was sold to a merchant in Maraqua, where I was released. I traveled the oceans for endless days, much like you have done, until I met Nereid, who cared for me until I was well. Afterwards, she told me I was on my own and that my powers must be preserved for hundreds of years to come, only used in desperate situations."
Jane stopped cold, amazed by the story that Yara had told her. She then felt so foolish and meek for judging her wrongly because of her size. She looked up at Yara who sadly fluttered across the room to sit on an open shelf next to a few potion bottles.
Jane quietly followed her and peeked over the shelf to discover a saddened, lonely Yara with her tiny tail folded and her arms wrapped around it. The Mutant Jetsams, with sparkling eyes of sympathy, lay down on the floor of the grotto and softly whimpered.
"Yara," Jane began. "I have misjudged you as many others in your life have done as well, but I understand by your account that you are gifted with great powers! That's why I came to you. I am one deep in a desperate situation."
Yara shook her head silently. "I am not sure I could be of any worth. I am only a sprite faerie, remember?"
"You must help me, Yara!" Jane cried distraughtly. "You are the only one who can! Please... I have come so far. My entire fate rests in your hands. Please, Yara, I implore you. I will be doomed to a life of eternal separation from my owner if you refuse to help me."
To be continued...